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How couponing made me a better cook

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A few of you have commented lately on recipes I’ve posted, and I’m honestly always startled when that happens. I never thought of myself as a good cook, but over the past couple of years I’ve become a much better cook. Why? Couponing.

Garlicky chicken n' potatoes

Hear me out, here. Pre-couponing, I was very, very careful about sticking to recipes, because I was very, very worried about messing up. This made cooking both boring and kind of nerve-wracking, and I would never even look at a lot of recipes because someone in my family would reject one or more ingredients.


Post-couponing — it’s kind of OK to mess around! Take the turkey soup from yesterday, for instance. This, I made from the bones from my $3.70 turkey (which, pre-couponing, I would have tossed! lol), $.25 egg noodles from Jewel when they had the $1.00 Essential Everyday coupon out, cheap veggies from Aldi, and a bit of that $.97 Lucerne milk. It turned out really well, even though I made up the recipe after looking at a few recipes online and thinking about what we had in the house.

But if it hadn’t turned out OK? No huge loss — I just wouldn’t make it again!


Couponing also forces you to improvise and find new recipes when you cook around what you have in your stockpile and what you find on sale, rather than what you feel like buying for dinner this week around your same old tried and true recipes. Roast chile lime chicken, for instance, entered our repertoire courtesy of The Google, because I had chiles from the garden, a cheap little clearance chicken, and $.10 limes from an Ultra sale. Now, it’s a family favorite!

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Sour cream banana muffins, had to be made because of the Jewel sour cream extravaganza and end-of-life bananas. Never would have thought to look for the recipe, if we hadn’t had all that sour cream to use up!

More Buitoni randomness

I’ll never be a gourmet cook, and that’s OK. But now I like to cook, because couponing has given me leeway to experiment and have more fun with the process — I just wish I had more time to actually do it. 🙂 We eat a larger variety of food, because we’ve tried things we never would have thought to purchase in the past. And, we have a big batch of new family favorite recipes, so there’s always something to make around what’s cheap at the store and what we have in the house.

Is it just me, or has couponing made you a better or more creative cook, too?


Saturday 19th of November 2011

I've always been an adventurous cook wanting to try unusual vegetables and ingredients because I get bored easily with the same old food. Couponing has allowed me to get a stockpile of staples that I wouldn't normally have had pre-couponing. I've found even more uses for all that spaghetti sauce, cheeses, soups, sour cream and frozen vegetables than I did before. When it is all readily available it makes cooking easier and more fun. And as you pointed out Rachel it makes you more likely to take chances. And so what if I only wasted a couple bucks rather than $30?! I'm having a blast and my family doesn't seem to mind, as long as their stomachs are satisfied!


Saturday 19th of November 2011

I couldn't agree more. I have more "on hand" ingredients to make those recipies I would have tossed aside because it would have been "too expensive" to get all of those ingredients. It also makes me more creative.. the lucerene cheese.. frozen tortillas... sour cream... left over chicken.. chi chi salsa.. QUESADILLAS.. kids think I'm a Gourmet Chef.. ha ha joke is on them. It also forces us to eat at home more.. I work hard to get those deals and I know I can make it cheaper at home.


Friday 18th of November 2011

Cooking has always been an adventure, but couponing gave me the freedom to experiment. I love working with inexpensive ingredients to make amazing dinners. Some of my family's favorites are chicken and gnocchi soup, sweet pepper marinara, stuffed mushrooms (great way to use up leftover biscuits for the bread crumbs, leftover chicken or sausage, some spices, and some cream cheese or sour cream). One of the great things is finding a new way to use something I alreawdy have. Like making a better version of Boston Market's cinnamon apples or making an almost-rotisserie chicken that only needs 3-4 ingredients. When an ingredient hits a rock bottom price, I snap it up and see what I can come up with. When plums were $.59 lb., I made and canned Asian Plum Sauce and with some peppers, onions, and some pork stew meat - we had restaurant quality stirfry for less than $5. Couponing and deal hunting has changed how I cook - from really cheap coffee creamer in the French toast batter to using free tomato basil soup in place of tomato sauce in my spaghetti sauce, I've found a lot of new ways to use a stockpile staple.


Friday 18th of November 2011

I have to agree with you and all above, while I still have little ones who are somewhat picky having a stockpile visible for them to see a variety of veggies,fruit etc..couponing has made it much easier to throw something together and not have us eating the same dinners over and over. Now my boys will pick which veggies they want me to make something with or a sauce and I will incorperate it into dinner. So far the favorite has been spaghetti chicken with rice/veggies. Cheap and easy peasy:) I did try you garlic chicken and now am looking forward to trying my hand at turkey soup/stew. I too thank you for all your hard work, wisdom and look forward to many yummy dinners :-)


Friday 18th of November 2011

I agree. Couponing has definitely helped me to be more creative with cooking! I never used to have items on hand for specific recipes I would want to make so, 1) I had to run out and pay full price for the items to make the desired dish (such a time and money waster!)or 2) I would just make something else and just forget about it. Now I just figure out what I have to work with, and plan around it. I never have to run out to the store for specific ingredients and now I check beforehand in my cookbooks for recipes that I really want to make, and wait for items to go on sale. I am more prepared with cooking and recipes now, and if I just feel like cooking something simple, there's plenty in my stockpile to choose from! Plus before we were always eating the same few things, and spending twice as much, plus we were always bored with what we were making. Now we have realized there is so much more out there to try, and we truly are eating better than we did before we were couponing!!! A friend told me about it, and my life hasn't been the same since! Now I have plenty for us, and then some, and now I feel like I can share more with others! Couponing has been very good to us!!!! : )